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(15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition)

There is no denying that SHOWGIRLS ($30) is not great cinema. Heck, there are those that would say it is the cinematic equivalent of a train wreck. There are moments that are laughably bad and even painful to watch; yet for the last fifteen years, SHOWGIRLS is a movie that has never gone wanting for an audience- except during its theatrical run. Considering that SHOWGIRLS has generated over one hundred million dollars in video sales and rentals… it would appear that all of those folks who were too embarrassed to see an NC-17 film in the theater, had no qualms about viewing it in the privacy of their own homes. That said, I would imagine all of the negative reviews and publicity surrounding SHOWGIRLS probably helped the movie attract it’s audience on home video, and as such, has allowed the film’s producers laugh all the way to the bank.

The premise of SHOWGIRLS follows Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley), who hitchhikes her way to Las Vegas, with dreams of becoming a dancer. Of course, success is elusive and Nomi is soon working as a stripper in a topless bar. Nomi’s only real friend in Vegas is Molly (Gina Ravera), who works as a costume seamstress for a topless review at one of the larger casinos on the strip. While visiting Molly at work, Nomi meets the show’s star, Cristal Connors (Gina Gershon), which results a bit of catty, un-pleasant fireworks, that ultimately leads to an antagonistic love/hate relationship between the two women. Ultimately, Nomi lands a job as a dancer in the show that Cristal headlines, which allows her to claw and sleep her way to the top of the heap, with Cristal’s boyfriend Zach (Kyle MacLachlan) serving as one of her stepping stones. SHOWGIRLS definitely takes some of its cues from ALL ABOUT EVE, but Joe Eszterhas’ screenplay contains even more pure schlock than BASIC INSTINCT, his previous collaboration with director Paul Verhoeven. The cast of SHOWGIRLS also features Glenn Plummer, Robert Davi, Gina Ravera, Lin Tucci, Greg Travis, Al Ruscio, Patrick Bristow, William Shockley, Michelle Johnston, Dewey Weber and Rena Riffel.

MGM Home Entertainment through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made SHOWGIRLS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. SHOWGIRLS was beautifully lit and shot, with the 1080p presentation highlighting all of the best qualities of Jost Vacano’s cinematography. The image appears quite crisp, dimensional and filmic. Additionally, the picture boasts a pretty terrific level of fine detail, which is apparent in the costumes, as well as the textures of the actors’ skin (of which there is plenty). Colors are pretty vibrant, and tend to drip off the screen, especially with the neon colored stage show lighting used in so many sequences. Fortunately, all of the hues are stable, and the flesh tones look realistic. Blacks are fairly perfect and the whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are generally excellent. The elements from which SHOWGIRLS has been mastered are pretty much without flaws. Grain is noticeable, and helps to maintain an organic quality for the presentation.

SHOWGIRLS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Considering that the movie is fifteen years old, this is a very impressive track. There is a tremendous sense of presence and precision within the sound design that makes full active use of all the outlying channels to bring to life the seedy and not so seedy world the characters inhabit. The hustle and bustle of a Vegas casino is there, as is noises of the strip club, as well as the overproduced sound of a musical review. Music is very well integrated into the soundtrack and this component also makes good use of the entire soundstage. Thanks to the lossless encode, fidelity is generally excellent, especially where the music is concerned. The bass channel is deep enough to keep things grounded, and enhance the musical playback. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital Surround tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Starting things off is The Greatest Movie Ever Made: Audio Commentary by David Schmader (I won’t comment). Next we have a tongue in cheek Pop-Up Trivia Track (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Featurettes and other programs include: Pole Dancing: Finder Your Inner Stripper (twelve minutes), Lap Dance Tutorial Featuring The World Famous Girls Of Scores (five minutes) and A Showgirl's Diary (eleven minutes). A Theatrical Trailer close out the standard extras. A DVD version of the film is also provided on the second disc of this set.

SHOWGIRLS is camp/cult classics that will continue to have an audience, as long as there are video playback devices. The Blu-ray presentation allows one to appreciate the film with an amazing level of visual clarity. If you are a fan, you’ll want to have a copy of SHOWGIRLS on Blu-ray.


Showgirls (15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition) [Blu-ray] (1995)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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